Serena Williams had an emotional return to tennis after a year of multiple medical issues. The champion burst into tears after she beat Aravane Rezai in three sets to claim victory in the first match.
For Serena, this last year has definitely had its ups and down. She returned to the tennis championships in London on Tuesday simply grateful to be back in the game. After her victory, tears of relief could be seen as she left the courts and in her post game interviews.
“I usually don’t cry … but it’s just been so hard,” Serena admitted. “I never dreamt I would be here right now. And then to win. I just wanted to win at least one match here.”
Last July, she was cut by a piece of glass that has left a scar that runs from above her right foot to the top of her leg. Later that week, Serena discovered pain in her right big toe during at match in Belgium. She later underwent two surgeries and wore a cast and walking boot to heal. Earlier this year, she began taking blood thinners and underwent a procedure to remove blood clots in her lungs.
Serena had just begun to play full force again in the game.
“It definitely was so emotional for me because throughout the last 12 months I’ve been through, you know, a lot of things that are not normal, things you guys don’t even know about,” Serena told the New York Times. “So it’s just been a long, arduous road. To stand up still is pretty awesome.”
The 29-year-old missed 11 months of competition but returned with a victory.